The Entrance to the Temple of Jupiter


This photograph depicting the ruins of the entrance to the Temple of Jupiter in Baalbek, Lebanon, is from the Frank and Frances Carpenter Collection at the Library of Congress. Frank G. Carpenter (1855–1924) was an American writer of books on travel and world geography whose works helped to popularize cultural anthropology and geography in the United States in the early years of the 20th century. Consisting of photographs taken and gathered by Carpenter and his daughter Frances (1890–1972) to illustrate his writings, the collection includes an estimated 16,800 photographs and 7,000 glass and film negatives. Baalbek was an important religious center known as Heliopolis in the Roman Imperial period. It was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984. Completed around the year 60, the temple sacred to Jupiter was the largest of three temples in Heliopolis; the others were associated with Venus and Bacchus. The photograph is by Maison Bonfils, the extraordinarily prolific venture of the French photographer Félix Bonfils (1831–85), his wife Marie-Lydie Cabanis Bonfils (1837–1918), and their son, Adrien Bonfils (1861–1929). The Bonfils moved to Beirut in 1867 and, over the next five decades, their firm produced one of the world's most important bodies of photographic work about the Middle East.

Last updated: May 29, 2013